He’s arguably the greatest Laker ever. He was the star player on five Laker title teams. No one can argue with what he did on the court for the franchise, but to automatically assume that Earvin “Magic” Johnson is going to step right in, work his “magic” and bring the Lakers back to glory is foolish.
Nothing Magic has done throughout his career has prepared him to call the shots for the Lakers. He has no experience in the front office on an NBA team, and as Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson can tell you, it’s not so easy. Both Jordan and Phil never worked in a front office before being chosen to lead the Wizards and Knicks respectively.
In case you don’t remember, after Jordan retired from the Bulls in January of 1999, he was given the keys to the Wizards. He proceeded to use Washington’s 2001 No. 1 overall pick on Kwame Brown (one of the biggest busts ever), and traded away Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse. Aside from the fact Jordan ended up coming back to suit up for the Wizards making the team relevant, Washington wasn’t even remotely competitive and he ended up getting fired in May of 2003.
Jordan then purchased a minority share of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets in 2006, later becoming the majority owner of the team. The Bobcats/Hornets haven’t exactly taken the NBA by storm during Jordan’s tenure.
As for Phil Jackson, we all know how his tenure as President of the Knicks has gone (Not particularly well would be an understatement).
Back to Magic. A strong argument can be made Jeanie Buss only brought him in because of the vast amount of fame and celebrity status he’s attained throughout his career and the connection he has with the Lakers fan base. Following the death of Jerry Buss in 2013, Jim Buss took over and ran the team to the ground, so anything not having to do with the name “Jim Buss” is music to the ears of Lakers fans. Hearing Magic will be in charge appears on the surface to be a perfect match.
Magic has certainly talked a big game about his hopes for the franchise, including saying on ESPN that he wants Kobe Bryant to join him. A Magic and Kobe duo running the show in Los Angeles, what could possibly sound better? The idea actually working is a whole other conversation.
Let’s not forget how it went for Magic as head coach of the Lakers in 1994. He went 5-11 before resigning after 16 games at the helm.
Who knows? Maybe Magic will come in and the Lakers will once again be the preeminent franchise in the NBA, or maybe he’ll follow in the footsteps of Jordan and Phil leaving fans wondering where it all went wrong.